Dishes washed and dried,
Kitchen floor swept three times,
Countertops polished five,
Mother rearranges silverware, dusts cabinets.
Father gets another cup of coffee.
“Go on to bed, Martha. If Gabriel toots, it’ll wake you.”
But she refolds the dishrag,
Looks out the window, up.
A phone call this late usually relays death,
But this night we know it’s another
Rapture watcher offering and seeking comfort.
“Them pew-jumpers are all shook up,” Father says
To me, nine years old, allowed to stay up late this long night.
I hear her flipping pages,
Reading into the phone from Ezekiel, Revelation, Psalms.
Neil Armstrong steps, leaps giantly.
Father announces, “We’re still here, Martha.
No Jesus, no Devil.
Call the preacher and tell him his job’s safe.”
She goes out to sit on the steps.
Later, as a chuck will’s widow wails,
And log trucks rumble on the dark highway
Like any other night,
I look from my bedroom window to the porch
Where lightning bugs flash
And she sits, waits,
Stares at the sky,
At its awful sameness.
Ron Cooper grew up in the South Carolina swamps and has lived in Florida for the past twenty-eight years. His poems, stories, and essays have appeared in publications such as The Chattahoochee Review, Yalobusha Review, and Deep South Magazine. He is the author of the novels Purple Jesus (which the Washington Post called “a literary event of the first magnitude”), Hume’s Fork, and, most recently, The Gospel of the Twin (which Fred Chappell called “an enthralling story!”). Cooper teaches at the College of Central Florida. His website is www.roncooper.org
Thanks Ron..love it..i going to reshsre..
It Ronnie (AKA) Ron way of expressing himself awesome.
Oh.…how I love it! I love your style Ronnie…worded like a true Southern Gentleman…doncha know.
That's wonderful, Ron! 🙂